“Old-time music makes me happy,” says Josh Hayes. He grew up in Wilkes and Watauga Counties, and has been an active member of the local old-time music community, helping carry on the traditional tunes and songs.
Some of Josh’s earliest memories of mountain music came from listening to Joe Bussard’s Country Music Classics radio program. “My dad and I would listen to that every Saturday,” he remembers. “We never missed it.” He also listened to Going Across the Mountain and This Old Porch, programs on Spindale’s WNCW that featured bluegrass and old-time music.
His grandparents introduced him to recordings of Hank Williams and took him to the Burgess Barn in Ashe County, where live music and dancing took place on Saturday nights.
As a student at Appalachian State University, he took a class with Alex Hooker, an old-time musician, and learned to play banjo. He frequented the Todd General Store old-time music jam, a weekly session that was attended by many local musicians. At the jam, Josh played with Cecil Gurganus, Fred McBride, Tammy and David Sawyer, Wayne Henderson, Sam Gobble, and other old-time musicians from the area.
Through the Appalachian Studies program at ASU, he learned about local music legend Frank Proffitt. Over the past several years, Josh has spent a lot of time listening to and learning songs Proffitt recorded, and he cites him as his number-one influence.
Josh has been a guitar and banjo instructor with the Watauga County Junior Appalachian Musicians program, and has given programs on banjo playing and local music for students at the Turtle Island Summer Camp. He performs periodically with groups of local musicians, occasionally playing for dances.
Josh Hayes is available for performances and occasional lessons.